Wednesday, 22 May 2013


As examinations are around the corner, this question is no longer surprising to all. Are they really a true test of knowledge?
What really is knowledge?
I recently wrote a test on calculus. I pick this particular test because it was ‘funny’. The teacher previously released 100 questions for practice. 20 of which were said to come out. All things being equal, anyone who passed the test was/is said to have known calculus. But, over time, that didn’t seem so. 30 minutes were given to solve 20 questions. Here’s the outcome of the test; half of the questions were said to be option (e) {none of the above}, the other half took not less than 5 minutes each to solve correctly. At that point in the hall, if you had solved the first five questions and your answers weren’t in the options, you might have lost hope in yourself; meanwhile you were right all along! For those who solved and were convinced they were doing the right thing, it cost them a little more time to make sure they were right. Alas! 30 minutes were gone; everyone submitted and sat glued to their chairs. Even the 100 questions didn’t help!
The funny thing is we could correctly solve the 100 questions without any assistance at a normal pace, all things being equal, but we couldn’t correctly solve 20 under examination conditions. I’m pretty sure if we could solve the 100 questions without any assistance, we did know calculus! But the exams said we didn’t.
I had a friend who performed better at impromptu tests than at exams prepared for. His grades screamed he had no knowledge of his courses but he had! You could meet him at any time to ask him a question, he would get it, but if you told him you were coming to ask him a question, no matter how he tried, he just couldn't answer correctly.
What of our very own JAMB? Its scores can keep you in coma, but if you actually marked what you ticked, most people get higher.
What happens to people that can’t write or can’t speak to strangers; does that indicate low knowledge level? Dyslexic patients nko?
Those whose pupils dilate rapidly at the sound of free marks and those who do all sort of ‘magic’ to gain free marks, their grades say they possess knowledge, but do they? Well, that’s for them to decide. #punchline An examination is like asking a fish and a monkey to jump unto at tree, who says a fish cannot jump?


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